London Mayor Wants $45 Fee From Pollution-Making SUV’s

congestion_charge_taxi.jpgHere is a little something to think about as the fine particulate matter settles deep into your lungs on this lovely Ozone Alert Day. While New York City politely suggests via electronic highway billboard and half-assed p.r. campaigns, that motorists switch to mass transit on days like today, the BBC reports that the Mayor of London wants to reprogram the city’s three-year-old congestion charging system to hit the owners of the most heavily polluting personal vehicles with a whopping £25 fee to drive into the city center (that’s $45!).

Translator’s note: In London, SUV’s are derisively known as "Chelsea Tractors."

Mayor Ken Livingstone has said he wants a sliding scale, with lower charges for low-emission vehicles and higher charges for "Chelsea tractors." The mayor said he wanted to encourage Londoners to buy low-emission cars to help cut carbon emissions and protect the environment.

"There is a growing sense of concern amongst Londoners about climate change caused by CO2 emissions, which is the biggest single problem facing humanity, and tackling this threat requires decisive action.

"’Chelsea tractors’, many of which are responsible for some of the highest CO2 emissions of any cars on our roads, have to be dealt with."

What would you give to hear New York City’s mayor say something like this?

Additionally, Transport for London has released its latest analysis of the city’s congestion charging system, entitled, "Congestion Charging Three Years On: Cleaner Air, Safer Roads and Reduced Congestion."